Zimbabwe: Mana Pools Image Wins Prestigious World Nature Photography Award

A picture of a crocodile swimming through the mud at the Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe has been selected as the grand prize winner of the 2022 World Nature Photography Awards (WNPA), which honored the most evocative shots from thousands of entries in a variety of categories.

Titled ‘Danger in the Mud’, the picture, which also claimed gold in the ‘Animal Portraits’ category, shows a cleverly disguised crocodile in Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools National Park.

The German photographer learned of his win while on location in Botswana and said he was thrilled about his victory.

From a satellite phone, he shared a bit about the story behind the winning photograph.

“This photograph is the result of my staking out the largest pool in Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe, at a time when an extended drought had reduced the pool to rapidly drying mud. I had to be very careful not to disturb the crocodile, even though it was buried in dry mud. They will launch themselves with tremendous speed and power at any animal foolish enough to come too close.”

Cullmann also explained why the hot temperatures cause the crocodile to cover itself in mud.

“During the dry season, temperatures can reach 45 degrees Celsius and crocodiles will attempt to reduce their body temperature by burying themselves in mud. A giant crocodile such as this one could survive submerged for months without eating, by living off its fat reserves. This is a process known as aestivation.”